Keeping the borders safe

On Nov. 22, Brewster County deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended nine suspected illegal aliens trespassing on private property south of Marathon.

U.S. Border Patrol agents and Brewster County deputies were busy in November keeping the borders safe throughout the Big Bend Sector.

Closest to home, early on Nov. 22, Brewster County deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents began tracking a group of suspected illegal aliens trespassing on private property south of Marathon. Deputies and agents caught up with the suspects, who initially ran from the area, and apprehended all nine individuals. Five were from Mexico, and four from Guatemala. The suspects were turned over to Border Patrol agents for processing and deportation.

In all, over the weekend ending Nov. 23, Big Bend Sector agents arrested a criminal alien convicted of indecent liberties with a child, intercepted seven alien smuggling events, seized over 700 pounds of marijuana, and apprehended over 150 individuals illegally present in the U.S.

Then over Thanksgiving weekend, Border Patrol agents in Van Horn apprehended over 100 individuals illegally present in the U.S. During one of the apprehensions in a remote area, an agent was assaulted by a subject presumed to be present in the U.S. illegally.

The subject forcefully resisted arrest, and punched the agent in the face in an attempt to get away. He subsequently tried to disarm the agent as they struggled, but was unsuccessful. The subject was subdued and taken into custody without further incident.

The aggressor and the agent were evaluated by medical professionals, and found to have minor injuries that did not require further attention.

With the FBI’s aid, an internal investigation was conducted. Andre Mainor-Velasquez, a Guatemalan citizen, was charged with multiple immigration violations, as were the others in the group. Mainor-Velasquez will be further prosecuted for assault of a federal officer.

Agents have intercepted nearly a dozen alien smuggling attempts where the subjects were hidden in vehicles in hazardous conditions, and apprehended several large groups of subjects, with the biggest group over 50 people. At checkpoints, on the highways, and in the brush, agents have seized thousands of pounds of narcotics, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

“The on-going exploitation of people by transnational criminal organizations is truly concerning,” said Big Bend Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Chris T. Clem. “Lives are put at risk each day as smugglers put desperate people into dangerous and unlawful situations. Their careless and callous actions put our agents and our communities at greater risk during the pandemic. Regardless of the risks, our agents have rescued dozens of people in the past month that were in need of medical attention. The men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol will continue to protect our homeland and our communities.  Border Security is National Security.”

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